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1333. Edward III is at war with Scotland. 19-year-old West Country knight Sir Harry de Lyon yearns to prove himself in the war, and so jumps at the chance when a powerful English baron, William Montagu, invites him on a secret mission with a dozen elite knights. They ride north, to a crumbling Scottish keep, capturing the feral, half-starved boy within and putting the othe 1333. Edward III is at war with Scotland. 19-year-old West Country knight Sir Harry de Lyon yearns to prove himself in the war, and so jumps at the chance when a powerful English baron, William Montagu, invites him on a secret mission with a dozen elite knights. They ride north, to a crumbling Scottish keep, capturing the feral, half-starved boy within and putting the other inhabitants to the sword. And nobody knows, or nobody is saying, why the flower of English knighthood snuck over the border to capture a savage, dirty teenage boy. Montagu gives the boy to Harry as his squire, with only two rules: don't let him escape, and convert him to the English cause. The price of failure? Forfeiting his small, heavily indebted Devon estate to the Baron. At first, it's hopeless. The Scottish boy is surly, violent, hoards sharp objects, and eats anything that isn't nailed down. Then Harry begins to notice things: that, as well as Gaelic, the boy speaks flawless French, with an accent much different from Harry's Norman one. That he can read the language – Latin, too. That he isn't small so much as desperately under-fed. That when Harry finally convinces the boy – Iain mac Maíl Coluim – to cut his filthy curtain of hair, the face revealed is the most beautiful thing Hary has ever seen. With Iain as his squire, Harry wins tournament after tournament and becomes a favourite of the King. But underneath the pageantry smoulders twin secrets: Harry and Iain's growing passion for each other, and Iain's mysterious heritage. As England hurtles towards war once again, these secrets will destroy everything Harry holds dear. The Scottish Boy is the debut prose novel of critically-acclaimed comics writer Alex de Campi (Smoke, No Mercy, Twisted Romance, Bad Girls), with black and white illustrations by Trungles (Twisted Romance, Adventure Time, Fauns & Flora) scattered throughout the book. It also has maps in it because look, if you open a book and find a map and don't do an internal squee of delight? I fear for your immortal soul, I really do.


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1333. Edward III is at war with Scotland. 19-year-old West Country knight Sir Harry de Lyon yearns to prove himself in the war, and so jumps at the chance when a powerful English baron, William Montagu, invites him on a secret mission with a dozen elite knights. They ride north, to a crumbling Scottish keep, capturing the feral, half-starved boy within and putting the othe 1333. Edward III is at war with Scotland. 19-year-old West Country knight Sir Harry de Lyon yearns to prove himself in the war, and so jumps at the chance when a powerful English baron, William Montagu, invites him on a secret mission with a dozen elite knights. They ride north, to a crumbling Scottish keep, capturing the feral, half-starved boy within and putting the other inhabitants to the sword. And nobody knows, or nobody is saying, why the flower of English knighthood snuck over the border to capture a savage, dirty teenage boy. Montagu gives the boy to Harry as his squire, with only two rules: don't let him escape, and convert him to the English cause. The price of failure? Forfeiting his small, heavily indebted Devon estate to the Baron. At first, it's hopeless. The Scottish boy is surly, violent, hoards sharp objects, and eats anything that isn't nailed down. Then Harry begins to notice things: that, as well as Gaelic, the boy speaks flawless French, with an accent much different from Harry's Norman one. That he can read the language – Latin, too. That he isn't small so much as desperately under-fed. That when Harry finally convinces the boy – Iain mac Maíl Coluim – to cut his filthy curtain of hair, the face revealed is the most beautiful thing Hary has ever seen. With Iain as his squire, Harry wins tournament after tournament and becomes a favourite of the King. But underneath the pageantry smoulders twin secrets: Harry and Iain's growing passion for each other, and Iain's mysterious heritage. As England hurtles towards war once again, these secrets will destroy everything Harry holds dear. The Scottish Boy is the debut prose novel of critically-acclaimed comics writer Alex de Campi (Smoke, No Mercy, Twisted Romance, Bad Girls), with black and white illustrations by Trungles (Twisted Romance, Adventure Time, Fauns & Flora) scattered throughout the book. It also has maps in it because look, if you open a book and find a map and don't do an internal squee of delight? I fear for your immortal soul, I really do.

30 review for The Scottish Boy

  1. 5 out of 5

    James

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. First published in Grimdark Magazine on 25 May 2020. I suppose that knights’ tales are mostly laughed off by the general reading public as something archaic nowadays. Largely seen as relics from a far-off time when your grandpa, when still a stripling, delighted in the likes of Walter Scott’s ‘Ivanhoe’, Ronald Welch’s ‘Knight Crusader’ or Howard Pyle’s ‘Men Of Iron’. Eventually it became fashionable to deconstruct the chivalric myth in Cervantes-like fashion, as your teenage dad discovered when h First published in Grimdark Magazine on 25 May 2020. I suppose that knights’ tales are mostly laughed off by the general reading public as something archaic nowadays. Largely seen as relics from a far-off time when your grandpa, when still a stripling, delighted in the likes of Walter Scott’s ‘Ivanhoe’, Ronald Welch’s ‘Knight Crusader’ or Howard Pyle’s ‘Men Of Iron’. Eventually it became fashionable to deconstruct the chivalric myth in Cervantes-like fashion, as your teenage dad discovered when he picked up GRR Martin’s ‘A Game Of Thrones’. Yet even that approach slowly petered out, so that in time I was certain that there was no literary angle left through which knight errantry might provoke a strong reaction from readers. Boy was I wrong. Arise Lady Alex de Campi, a heralded Queen of Grimdark. And not idly do I bestow such a lofty title upon this fine debut novelist, for de Campi has to date painstakingly carved out a critically acclaimed career from penning grim and gritty graphic novels. If only there were more risk-taking writers around like her who had half her talent - and it’s not just me saying it. Legendary bestselling author Chuck Wendig probably described her work best: "I have adopted the rule that I will read anything that Alex de Campi writes, and this rule has served me well." This, coming from him, is no mean endorsement. And it looks like de Campi is set to carry her stellar ability from comic book writing into novels, for her debut ‘The Scottish Boy’ oscillates splendidly between savagery and sophistication, filled as it is with moral ambiguity and a pervasive sense of real danger. It’s a knight’s tale set in medieval times, with as perilous a war-torn setting as our Grimdark hearts could hope for. This is not to mention a fresh romantic angle that is intimately (heh, you can say that again) explored and which is wholly unprecedented in fiction. This novel is so unbelievably brave in the insane amount of risk it takes, that I doubt that it would ever have been touched with a ten-foot bargepole by the ailing, risk averse big end of town in the publishing industry, battered around as it has been for over a decade by sheer Amazon.com dominance. Let’s just say that I can’t see too many midwestern housewives picking this one up at their book club or while baking Bundt cakes for the bible-bashing, God-fearing hubby. So it’s hardly surprising that it was instead snapped up by the celebrated UK publisher Unbound, known to publish various grim and gritty trope-breaking titles in historical fiction like Paul Kingsnorth’s ‘The Wake’. This plucky London-based publisher has used online means to successfully revive subscription publishing of yore, which was the method used to publish works by Voltaire, Samuel Johnson and Charles Dickens. Unbound bucks the aggressive discounting trend in modern bookselling by charging readers a premium to fund fiction that can’t break into the mainstream in exchange for having their names listed in the book they support as well as a copy of the same title. Yet despite this added cost, a whopping 834 patrons dived in to fund the production of de Campi’s debut, making it a huge success by crowdfunding standards before it even went into print. The book’s protagonist, nineteen-year-old Harry de Lyon, is a stout fellow and the son of an impoverished English knight Sir Owen de Lyon who perished at the Battle of Bannockburn, scene of Scotland’s greatest triumph. Despite his mother’s misgivings, our Harry yearns to become a knight, so that he is soon taken into the service of one Sir Simon de Attwood. Unfortunately for Harry, he proceeds to lose both mother and Simon when the former dies of something or other and the latter perishes during the battle on Halidon Hill between the English and the Scots. Harry is late for Sir Simon’s last battle but is still knighted by the English King after a certain Baron Montagu puts in a good word for him. The newly knighted Harry feels somewhat embarrassed by his dream coming true since he thinks that it is undeserved. So that he quickly jumps at the chance to join the ruthless Baron Montagu’s hastily assembled warband in an undercover mission past the border with Scotland. Montagu’s target is a distant keep, where to Harry’s horror there ensues a heartless slaughter of the fastness’ starving and unarmed inhabitants, which include women and children. None are spared, save for a fierce boy, who is bound hand and foot after being dragged away from his home by Montagu’s men, before being hurled into a cage. To his English captors, this boy is Scottish and therefore nothing short of a wild beast whose life is not worth the steam of their piss. It is only Harry (too shocked to wield his blade in the keep) who offers the rabid prisoner any kindness on the band’s return journey south. Harry feels utterly revolted by every bit of his first knightly venture yet matters further worsen when Montagu orders him to take the Scottish boy into his household and train him up to be his squire. De Lyon is reluctant to do this, yet finally relents when he is informed by the heartless Montagu that the Baron has purchased the debts burdening Harry’s estates, which in turn means that Harry will be rendered landless if he doesn’t take in his Scottish ward and secure his captivity. Despite his initial misgivings, the recently orphaned Harry has no idea of the nightmare he is soon to suffer at the hands of the Scottish boy named Iain. Iain proves to be as easy to subdue as a wildcat being given a warm bath on a Sunday morning. For a while Sir Harry patiently takes it all on the chin, extending great kindnesses to his fellow orphan Iain. As a result, he endures all manner of threats, insults, jibes as well as wounds while desperately and hopelessly trying to turn Iain into a reliable squire. Yet it all proves in vain, with Harry finally reaching breaking point when Iain mortally injures his favourite horse and then flees Harry’s estate. The escaped Scottish boy is picked up by the local Sheriff who grievously wounds him, before a remorseful Harry steps in to take Iain back into his home. In time Harry’s renewed efforts with Iain bear fruit at the cost of an unexpected and enticing turn of events, when Harry finds himself not only a debt slave to Montagu but also Iain’s slave to love. For as they say, the human heart in conflict with itself is the only thing worth writing about. I found ‘The Scottish Boy’ an engaging read on several levels. The characters are well-crafted to the point that they are each vivid enough to make them easily recognisable to the reader. This avoids the common pitfall of most historical novelists, who tend to bog down their narratives with a cast of thousands. De Campi is also a specialist on the particular period of history which forms the historical backdrop, so that her references to the paraphernalia, customs and calendar of the period are subtly blended into a brisk writing style in the third person present which also contains some fantastic metaphors. Although easy to read, her writing is at times also as deep and reflective enough as required to reveal the torment endured by the novel’s protagonist who finds himself increasingly drawn into a highly dangerous relationship with a boy who poses highly dangerous political consequences. De Campi is also careful to leave enough mystery simmering throughout her tale, with the McGuffin being Iain’s true background since his French is flawless for a Scot and it slowly becomes apparent that he is no mere Scottish lordling and a whole lot more than what first met the eye. It would be remiss of me not to add that the warmth and cheer of Harry’s household is well-realised and provides a good backdrop for the grittier events which ensue when Harry and Iain venture onto the jousting grounds as well as the grim wars of the Continent. The combat scenes throughout the book are a testament to de Campi’s deep knowledge of jousting and fighting techniques, as well as the warfare of the period. These scenes in novels often descend into sword-waving triumphs achieved through sheer will, yet de Campi keeps it all technical and plausible so that it’s pulled off really well. Probably the hardest task she set herself in this literary venture was converting Iain’s blind hatred for all things English into a raging passion for the English knight Harry. The debut author pulls it off magnificently and even makes it look easy, yet this feat requires deft, patient plotting and a deep understanding of her characters’ emotional journeys which are inch perfect and achieved spectacularly well. What chiefly sets this novel apart from other knightly tales is a homosexual attraction that is kindled between Iain and Harry and which blossoms into a series of full-frontal and graphic sexual encounters. De Campi is uncompromising in her description of these scenes, which are akin to an unexpected burst of roaring power chords ripping through a neatly accomplished orchestral piece. It’s not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea and I learned this first hand when reading this book in serial format on The Pigeonhole, an online book club in which readers can post their comments on the right hand side of the book’s pages. The extent of de Campi’s bravery was evidenced by the protests and expressions of outrage by a number of readers following these sex scenes. It made me feel privileged, for I felt that I was bearing witness to a historic moment in literature: the birth of a great and timeless classic which had broken literary boundaries to great public outrage, like Thomas Hardy’s ‘Jude The Obscure’ or DH Lawrence’s ‘Sons And Lovers’. Some readers on The Pigeonhole claimed that the scenes were too graphic. I’ll reserve my judgement on this, except to say that I found this reaction from readers to be both awe-inspiring and exciting, in a time in which I thought that there were no taboos left to be broken. Here is a novel which seeks to break new ground in fiction while also exploring a feature of life in martial circles that was probably a lot more common than people dare to admit, and which has largely been swept under the carpet. So it’s a five on five rating for this daring, accomplished debut. It’s another absolute gem published by Unbound and an impressive first step into the literary world by Alex de Campi, hopefully the first of a few more to come.

  2. 4 out of 5

    stardust

    DNF at 64% This book could've gone to places: it could've used the Scotland/England conflict as its main premise like the blurb leads you to believe; it could've made an interesting use of the prejudices both characters had to develop a deep and complex enemies to lovers dynamic; it could've explored power imbalance between a prisoner and his captor. Instead, it skirted around meaningful themes and conversations and just went for a safe one-sided enemies to lovers approach and got both characters DNF at 64% This book could've gone to places: it could've used the Scotland/England conflict as its main premise like the blurb leads you to believe; it could've made an interesting use of the prejudices both characters had to develop a deep and complex enemies to lovers dynamic; it could've explored power imbalance between a prisoner and his captor. Instead, it skirted around meaningful themes and conversations and just went for a safe one-sided enemies to lovers approach and got both characters together by around the 25% mark, with little to no development so they could have sex for the rest of the book. Not to mention that Harry, the MC, is one of the most boring characters I've read recently and that despite the author's attempts to present him as a truth knight, good and just of heart it was very telling that he (as far as I read) never confronted his prejudices against Scottish people, even though he was "in love" with one of them, and kept referring to them as "savages."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Exillior

    As the blurb outlines, this is a historical intrigue/romance with a gay couple as the core characters, set in the 1300s mostly in England, Scotland and France. The queer rep includes: the two main characters are queer, there is another important character written as being sex averse aro/ace, a further male gay couple, some same-sex interactions between minor characters. Trigger warnings for: violence, war, murder, slave/captive situations, injury/maiming, cheating, bereavement, homophobia (view As the blurb outlines, this is a historical intrigue/romance with a gay couple as the core characters, set in the 1300s mostly in England, Scotland and France. The queer rep includes: the two main characters are queer, there is another important character written as being sex averse aro/ace, a further male gay couple, some same-sex interactions between minor characters. Trigger warnings for: violence, war, murder, slave/captive situations, injury/maiming, cheating, bereavement, homophobia (view spoiler)[(including the attempted immolation of a character and a mention of capital punishment for another) (hide spoiler)] and mention of rape although no on-page descriptions. This is a difficult book to review. Any one of my friends will know I have been begging for a gay romance set in this time period with fighting and intrigue since forever - in fact one said 10/10 this is up my alley. The time period isn't one I've had the pleasure of encountering in fiction very often. Most stories tend to focus on more exciting time periods either later (by far the most common) or sometimes earlier. It was extraordinarily well captured here. The fashion, the buildings/rooms, the lifestyle... But even more impressively in my opinion was how accurately the life of a knight of that time period was captured. Horsemanship, knight skills, jousting, swordsmanship, archery, tournaments and battles... it was realistic as hell. The amount of detail we were given was perfect - it was enough to build a vibrant world and at the same time not so much that it ends up being an info-dump. It was always dynamic. The writing is remarkable, poetic and thoughtful but also sharp and fast when it needs to be. I do think the pace stagnated a couple of spots in the story but it wasn't a huge issue. So why did I take a star out? For me the main issue was how some of the power dynamics were handled. Or maybe not handled. I think the author's intent was to have things happen organically rather than consciously but I did think that it was never ever acknowledged that Iain was actually completely at Harry's mercy for most of the story. This is after all a captor/prisoner romance, and in fact I would argue it's a master/slave relationship because Harry does not pay Iain anything. Iain owns literally nothing other than his own body and one shirt (that eventually wears so thin it ends up being thrown). Anything else he obtains is on Harry's goodwill.(view spoiler)[ Alys de Morton brings up this issue about halfway into the book, saying she would have worried that the relationship is imbalanced since one party has all the power. Harry laughs it off and says Iain can and does say no when he doesn't want something. This is technically true, but it doesn't actually consider that 1. Iain (in his own words) has lost his family, his home, his possessions, and has truly nothing; 2. Iain is in a foreign land and while Harry doesn't know this, Iain knows he's a hostage (he states about 25% of the way in that he doesn't expect to live to his majority). (hide spoiler)] Iain is depicted as strong willed but at the end of the day he is massively fragile. And my problem is that Harry never actually came to the realisation or reflected on Iain's inherent lack of power in their relationship. (view spoiler)[ The character development of Iain does show that he gains gradual empowerment, eventually refusing Harry's advances because it was so very much as per Harry's own timetable and never with consideration of Iain himself. But it was very much Harry incidentally giving him the space for this as opposed to Harry realising that this is something he HAS to give Iain. (hide spoiler)] Maybe I'm too picky, but I wanted Harry to be more conscious of the power imbalances rather than simply be well-meaning and eventually get there just out of kindness. I definitely had some question marks over how Iain's adjustment to his losses and captivity at Dartington was depicted. (view spoiler)[ The story is from Harry's POV, so the reader knows that Harry absolutely did NOT mean for Rabbie to hurt Iain, but the thing is, Iain cannot know that in that moment. Harry told Rabbie to sort Iain out. He stood there in dumb silence while Rabbie smashed Iain's leg. An injury like that is permanent maiming in the 1300s and has dire repercussions on your ensuing life quality. It did not make sense to me that Iain immediately switched after this injury and went from hating Harry and hating his captivity to suddenly opening up. Like... a dozen pages later and Iain is even sharing all his sex secrets. The change was just not in keeping with the situation, to me. (hide spoiler)] Finally, the sex scenes. I read LGBTQ erotica regularly (as in, every day pretty much). But I did find myself wondering if we did need all of the sex scenes and if some of it wasn't too much on the gratuitous side. The fetishising of queer men for straight female readership is a big issue and I did feel that some of the sex ran on the edge of doing that. The story did however redeem this because the characters were very much presented as humans, their struggles and their motivations very much at the front of this story. The inclusion of the homophobia of the time period was also done carefully, I feel. There is some graphic violence but it had a place in the story, it wasn't ever romanticised. Having gotten that far, I will say that for all that this was clearly meticulously researched on most topics, there were some jarring inconsistencies where it really felt like we were just 21st century people wandering through the 14th century. One of those was the consideration of "sodomy" - I think we forget that it historically meant a whole host of things on top of what we nowadays think it means. I also felt that a lot of the social structure we saw felt more contemporary than as per the time period. That said, this was a solid debut. So, if your interest is in medieval knights, intrigue, vengeance, and LGBTQ romance? This is a book for you. It isn't perfect. But it's a powerfully presented story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    abi

    oh alex de campi, i love you and your wholly inaccurate historical fiction

  5. 5 out of 5

    N

    I got to read this epic historical m/m romance through the author's generosity in putting it up on thepigeonhole app. I spent a whole day completely immersed in Iain and Harry's story. It's the best sort of enemies to lovers romance that I need and full of passion that I want. You get to see Iain slowly trust Harry and see them both through the thick and thin of war. HEA guaranteed!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Teddy

    6 June 2020: 3.5 or 4 stars, can't decide This book was honestly really odd & somehow still ended up being enjoyable?? Some parts were well-researched, but it was also clear the author had no clue what chivalry actually was, or what medieval people considered to be sodomy -- also no mentions of ennobling love, but whatever. (Listen, I specialized in medieval history & I had to write about chivalry in depth for an entire year, I'm allowed to be picky!!!!) Not sure if I'd read it again, but it d 6 June 2020: 3.5 or 4 stars, can't decide This book was honestly really odd & somehow still ended up being enjoyable?? Some parts were well-researched, but it was also clear the author had no clue what chivalry actually was, or what medieval people considered to be sodomy -- also no mentions of ennobling love, but whatever. (Listen, I specialized in medieval history & I had to write about chivalry in depth for an entire year, I'm allowed to be picky!!!!) Not sure if I'd read it again, but it definitely succeeded in holding my interest & pressing me to read quickly.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    I'm sort of hesitant to give a mostly negative review to a book that hasn't properly come out yet, but I was really, really disappointed by this book. I borrowed it from my dad, who got an early copy from helping to crowdfund it, so I didn't really know what it was going to be about, but I liked the premise of historical fiction set in 1300s England featuring a romance between two men. Unfortunately, the book executes this premise poorly, and ends up being a mediocre-to-bad romance novel with a I'm sort of hesitant to give a mostly negative review to a book that hasn't properly come out yet, but I was really, really disappointed by this book. I borrowed it from my dad, who got an early copy from helping to crowdfund it, so I didn't really know what it was going to be about, but I liked the premise of historical fiction set in 1300s England featuring a romance between two men. Unfortunately, the book executes this premise poorly, and ends up being a mediocre-to-bad romance novel with a slightly unusual setting. Ostensibly, this is an enemies-to-lovers story about Harry, an English knight, who falls in love with Iain, a Scottish boy whose family is murdered by English knights. You might think, then, that the conflict between Scotland and England would be a major part of this book. Perhaps there would be tense confrontations between Iain and Harry over the losses of their respective families in the war. Perhaps Harry would be forced to confront his perception of the Scottish people as "fierce savages" and reckon with the immense harm done by the English conquest. You would be wrong, because this book is allergic to meaningful conflict or doing anything interesting with its premise. The first sign that this book has no interest in dealing with substantial conflict is how quickly Iain and Harry get together. They're friends by the end of the first part (of four), and they have sex for the first time a little past the quarter mark in the book. After that point, they certainly have conflict, but it's so petty and meaningless that it seems to exist mainly to pad out the book. They'll be together for a while, then Iain will get mad at Harry because Harry doesn't love him enough or because there was a miscommunication or any other stupid reason that doesn't actually challenge Harry as a character, and then they'll break up. Harry will moan about how lost he is without Iain for a chapter or two until they meet back up, have reunion sex, and everything goes back to normal. Harry continues to describe all the Scottish people as fierce savages, but it's okay now because he sort of respects them a little while he's murdering them. Speaking of which, Harry is the most boring, one-note protagonist I've read in a while. Harry is a Good Guy. He's honest, brave, noble; he cares about his vassals and wants the best for everyone around him. He doesn't mean to hurt anyone, and no matter how much harm he actually does, every good character in this book will eventually respect him and want to be his friend. He can make mistakes, but only if they're well-intentioned mistakes that he deeply regrets and is easily forgiven for. God forbid anybody actually dislike him or hold him responsible for his flaws, because then we might lose valuable time that could be used for describing how madly in love he is with Iain for the millionth time. Iain is marginally more interesting than Harry, but he too suffers from having maybe one and a half character traits. Iain, you see, is angry. He's also fierce, savage, primal, animalistic, dangerous, predator-like, and anything else the author thinks is hot. But, you see, he's not fierce and savage and dangerous around Harry, because he's madly in love with him for no discernible reason. In fact, once he and Harry have started boning every other page, any motivations besides "protect Harry" and "have sex with Harry" take a backseat for the rest of the book. The few scant moments when he does pursue his own goals and leaves Harry behind are some of the most interesting parts of the book, but never fear, he soon returns to Harry and confesses that he hates being away from him and was never really mad at him in the first place. By the second or third time this happens, you may begin to suspect that the plot of this book is mostly a pretext for Iain and Harry having sex. You wouldn't be entirely wrong. Also, the sex scenes. They're bad. And there's so, so many of them. Your mileage may vary, but I was mainly just bored and waiting for the scene to be over about 90% of the time. There's also some truly cringeworthy writing in some of them, like the constant use of sentence fragment paragraphs, e.g.: Harry nearly blows his load right there and then. Because. Iain's right. It's like. Nothing. It's never. Been. Like this. Oh. God. Almost every sex scene has a section like this, by the way. It's physically painful to read. The best of the sex scenes in this book is probably the scene near the beginning where they don't actually have sex. Iain taking advantage of Harry's vulnerability to attempt an escape was genuinely interesting! It built conflict! If more of their relationship had conflict like this, I would have enjoyed reading about it a lot more. Honestly, though, I am being a little harsh on this book. I think I could have enjoyed it more if it was shorter and/or if I knew better what to expect going in. The writing itself is competent if not particularly good; if you've read "Witchmark" or "The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue", it's at about the same level. I enjoyed both of those books more than this one, though, at least in part because 500 pages is a long time to put up with mediocre writing. Some additional miscellaneous complaints: - the use of the phrase "his slanted, Asiatic eyes." Unclear whether its describing a person or the dragon he has tattooed on his chest, but either way, not sure how that one made it past editors. - the presence of not one, but two evil priests who are specifically noted to have large, hooked noses. I assume this is a case of not thinking too carefully about the implications of a hooked nose being associated with evil, but it's pretty gross, especially when one of the priests is specifically doing evil things because of his greed. - Alys, like Iain, suffers from "no motivations that don't center around Harry" disease. She's also the only major female character, so it grates a bit more with her. - lack of moral complexity. Every character in this book is Good or Bad, and you will absolutely know which they are almost instantly. Harry comes the closest out of anyone to gray morality, but his mistakes are so quickly forgiven it's hard to take them seriously as flaws. - repetitiveness. A lot of the book blurs together because the same events and descriptions are repeated with slight changes over and over again. - pervasive sense that this book really isn't meant to be read by gay/bisexual men. This is difficult to quantify or prove, but it just feels voyeuristic, like we're not meant to be trying to relate to these characters, we're meant to be ogling them. It's frustrating as a gay reader, but it's kind of to be expected when reading romances between two men at this point. EDIT: raised it from one star to two after thinking about it a bit more

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ralia

    I am privileged to read this book !!! 🙏🏽

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sonya

    An average read, it's more than just a m/m romance filled with politics, suspense and drama but the story could've been better,a little dissapointed as i had high hopes for this book :(

  10. 4 out of 5

    Haden

    been waiting for this since i pledged on unbound and after that wait what a good time!! reads like a fic that deserves being the most popular/most rec'd au in a major fandom. can't speak to the historical accuracy but everything i know about medieval england i learned from a knight's tale or monty python so obviously i'm not the right person to ask. it's fun and gay! what more could you ask for tbh

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This was SUCHHHH a total DELIGHT and I could NOT STOP YELLING about the SEXY FEALTY throughout, WOW!!!!! Genuinely super fun and I enjoyed myself 100%, WILL recommend, WILL be reading again.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Catalina

    This was a bit of a chore to read. But I've signed up to read it(silly goose) so I had to keep at it. A cross between a historical novel and a LGBT historical erotica(romance) novel. Set in England, around 1300, follows a country knight in his ascension to court and consequent "fall from grace" and his love story with the "Scottish boy". All on the background of political ministrations at the hand of more powerful knights and the beginning of the 100 years war. A slow start where the writing see This was a bit of a chore to read. But I've signed up to read it(silly goose) so I had to keep at it. A cross between a historical novel and a LGBT historical erotica(romance) novel. Set in England, around 1300, follows a country knight in his ascension to court and consequent "fall from grace" and his love story with the "Scottish boy". All on the background of political ministrations at the hand of more powerful knights and the beginning of the 100 years war. A slow start where the writing seemed like a staccato: short phrases and countless paragraphs... In fact this comes back at times in the novel, entire scenes full of 2 lines paragraphs all starting with "Iain said", "Harry said"... About half way was I finally more interested (the writing improved considerably and we got to see more 'action') for then the very graphic sex scene to kick in. Needless to say after reading a couple I had to skip all subsequent ones. First I was not in the mood to read erotica and second: the ones I've read seemed copycats - as in line by line copied from other Erotica novels - I must have read too many(hahahahah), so much so that they bored me to death. And to top it all - spoiler alert- we have a happy end - cause you know the chance for a knight to live happily ever after, with the love of his life no less, in the 1330 was so very high :D

  13. 4 out of 5

    Claire (Silver Linings and Pages)

    1333, England is at war with Scotland. Young Sir Harry de Lyon is summoned on a secret mission north to a dilapidated Scottish keep. The noblemen leave no survivors behind, and they capture a feral, emaciated boy who is given to Harry as his squire. With the weight of responsibility of his estates, tenants and debts, Harry is desperate to prove himself a worthy knight at court and jousting tournaments. A passion grows between the two young men, which along with the Scottish boy’s mysterious heri 1333, England is at war with Scotland. Young Sir Harry de Lyon is summoned on a secret mission north to a dilapidated Scottish keep. The noblemen leave no survivors behind, and they capture a feral, emaciated boy who is given to Harry as his squire. With the weight of responsibility of his estates, tenants and debts, Harry is desperate to prove himself a worthy knight at court and jousting tournaments. A passion grows between the two young men, which along with the Scottish boy’s mysterious heritage puts them both in danger. . The storyline is good and there is much to be enjoyed by fans of historical fiction, adventure and intrigue. The period details and pressures of knighthood, court life and landed nobility were interesting, and it highlights how precarious and violent life was in those times. I liked how the romance between Harry and Iain developed, from initial mistrust and trying to suppress their overwhelming feelings. It is a beautiful love story. However...this has extremely graphic, intense sex scenes, I’m talking XXX rated! 🙈 It’s very steamy, and with so many of these episodes of 4-5 pages a time, I felt they detracted from the overall story and eventually found myself skimming. They made the book much longer than it needed to be at 508 pages and sometimes the narrative thread got lost. It’s just a matter of personal preference, I’ve seen that some reviewers thought these scenes worked really well, so do check them out. 3/5 🌟 . Thank you @unbounders for this #gifted review copy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Abi Walton

    I really think The Scottish Boy may be my favourite read so far in 2020 and that is saying something considering I have read some brilliant novels this year. Alex de Campi has written an intriguing beautiful book about the life of a country knight, Harry, in Devonshire in 1333 - 1340 who is made to look after a captured Scottish boy after England once again goes to war with Scotland. We follow Harry and Iain as they grow up together first as close friends and finally as lovers and partners. It r I really think The Scottish Boy may be my favourite read so far in 2020 and that is saying something considering I have read some brilliant novels this year. Alex de Campi has written an intriguing beautiful book about the life of a country knight, Harry, in Devonshire in 1333 - 1340 who is made to look after a captured Scottish boy after England once again goes to war with Scotland. We follow Harry and Iain as they grow up together first as close friends and finally as lovers and partners. It really is a beautifully written novel that left me desperately wanting more not only from Harry and Iain but also from Campi herself. I want to see more of the brilliant worlds that she has created. I could have finished this book in one sitting it was that good and intriguing but I made myself slow down and enjoy every twisty and turn of this fraught and heartbreaking tale. Can I give this novel 10 stars?!!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cleo

    In my opinion a cross between a Knights Tale and Captive Prince- with more blood, death and sex (yeah!) Harry de Lyon is a young (19) squire, son of an impoverished Knight who died in battle against the Scots. Eager to prove himself, get some much needed money to fund his holdings and become a chivalrous knight like his father, he joins forces with a ruthless Knight, Baron Montagu on a secret mission in Scotland. Turns out this mission involves the kidnapping of a young scottish lad (even younger In my opinion a cross between a Knights Tale and Captive Prince- with more blood, death and sex (yeah!) Harry de Lyon is a young (19) squire, son of an impoverished Knight who died in battle against the Scots. Eager to prove himself, get some much needed money to fund his holdings and become a chivalrous knight like his father, he joins forces with a ruthless Knight, Baron Montagu on a secret mission in Scotland. Turns out this mission involves the kidnapping of a young scottish lad (even younger than Harry) with a mysterious history. Eventually Harry becomes the boys captor and adventures ensue! This was an engaging read, the characters were well crafted and the author managed to weave mystery through the tale- leaving the reader wanting more.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mina

    it’s mainly centered on harry, a 19-year-old 14th century country boi who prays a lot. i loved him a lot during the first half of the book (i loved Everything a lot during the first half), but things unfold in the second half and he becomes a little more dreary and sullen and Emo. he still prays a lot tho. this was surprisingly hornier than i thought. the first couple bits were fun and cute but then wow these medieval boys really get off huh and my head is empty, eyes are glazed over, and i no l it’s mainly centered on harry, a 19-year-old 14th century country boi who prays a lot. i loved him a lot during the first half of the book (i loved Everything a lot during the first half), but things unfold in the second half and he becomes a little more dreary and sullen and Emo. he still prays a lot tho. this was surprisingly hornier than i thought. the first couple bits were fun and cute but then wow these medieval boys really get off huh and my head is empty, eyes are glazed over, and i no longer have thoughts. so far all the novels i’ve read with horses in them involves buggery in the tack room. i guess all the leather makes people extra horny. i wish there was more politics and action. i was mildly annoyed at how baddies keep conveniently appearing out of nowhere just to give harry and iain a Hard Time. like, sis, did u wait behind a rock for an entire day? how did u even get there omg haha. how many times did u watch harry “fertilize” his rock. i cannot. (it doesn’t really matter tho because harry and iain seem to be able to bounce back after every trial with most of the process and struggle happening off screen which is. A MISSED OPPORTUNITY.) i liked it well enough to finish it but i also finished this one fanfic where voldemort vores harry and shits him out so.

  17. 5 out of 5

    M

    I don't think I can be objective about this book because I loved it too much. It's a very long and immersive historical novel set in the fourteenth century and tells the story of a chivalrous English knight and a mysterious Scottish prisoner. There's a lot of intrigue and tournaments and violence and sex, but at its heart - it's an aching romance between two lost boys and I really, really enjoyed it. I could nitpick, because nothing's perfect, but I'm not going to. I think it was beautiful and I I don't think I can be objective about this book because I loved it too much. It's a very long and immersive historical novel set in the fourteenth century and tells the story of a chivalrous English knight and a mysterious Scottish prisoner. There's a lot of intrigue and tournaments and violence and sex, but at its heart - it's an aching romance between two lost boys and I really, really enjoyed it. I could nitpick, because nothing's perfect, but I'm not going to. I think it was beautiful and I'm glad I came across it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ben Howard

    this is perfection rtc

  19. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    I truly loved this novel, it had intrigue, romance, and sex galore as well as fighting and dirty politics as was consistent with the time of 1333. This was another Pigeonhole read, one stave a day, and I so wanted to be able to read the whole thing in one hit, I woke each morning hoping that today's stave had been delivered early and I could read it before work. There was a lot of discussion during the read, which I quite enjoy and the majority of us really enjoyed it. There were however a few wh I truly loved this novel, it had intrigue, romance, and sex galore as well as fighting and dirty politics as was consistent with the time of 1333. This was another Pigeonhole read, one stave a day, and I so wanted to be able to read the whole thing in one hit, I woke each morning hoping that today's stave had been delivered early and I could read it before work. There was a lot of discussion during the read, which I quite enjoy and the majority of us really enjoyed it. There were however a few who were not at all happy with the sex scenes, they felt they were far too graphic, and I wonder if this was just because they were between two males and if it had been a heterosexual couple whether they would have had the same complaint or not. I had no issue with the sex scenes and I thought they built the relationship between the two main characters perfectly, showing what an intense relationship they had in every aspect. But I will say that yes, the sex scenes are quite graphic, so if you don't like this, then maybe this won't be the book for you. An LGBT historical novel set in the 1300s, a time I knew nothing about, and a time I am glad I didn't live in. It was certainly a violent time with wars going on for land and titles continuously, as well as plots to take France or Scotland or for France to take England, so much scheming going on I don't know how anyone, especially Edward III slept at night. Harry is young and eager to become a knight, he has very little idea of what this truly entails only having fought and trained in tournaments. Turning up just after a fight he was hoping to be in, he is pulled into a scheme he has no understanding of, but which will change his life completely. The first fight scenes were gruesome and disturbing, just as fighting would have been in that time, Harry is completely disturbed by this and I stood with him, watching the massacre that was going on with disbelief and horror. There was really no such thing as honour, especially among the men that Harry found himself teamed with. These men scheme throughout the novel, using their love of England as their reason, when really it is their love of power that drives them. After this first Massacre, a prisoner is taken, Harry has no idea who this Scottish Boy is, but when he is given to him to be his squire, he finds his life entwined with Iain's and both of their lives will eventually depend upon the other. Iain is a tortured soul who with the help of Harry learns who he wants to be and what truly matters. As much as he wants to be left alone, the secret of who he is won't allow this to happen. The book spans many years, many plots, and intrigues and Harry has to learn who he wants to be and who he can truly trust. There are some surprising alliances formed and I really enjoyed the way I was at times not sure where everything was leading and how it was going to end up.  I have read comments that some of the histories in this novel are not totally accurate, but for me, not knowing the history anyway, it certainly didn't detract from my enjoyment of this novel. 

  20. 4 out of 5

    Manu Mercury

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. *THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!* My god... what a beautiful story. I'm sorry, I know that's not very eloquent praise but it's all my mind can muster right now. I have to warn you in advance: this is not going to be a very complete or coherent review since I'm still raw with emotion after finishing this incredible book (i.e. I'm feeling a lot of things and not thinking properly). The reason why I'm even trying to write a review in the first place is to highlight a passage that has made cry my eyes *THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!* My god... what a beautiful story. I'm sorry, I know that's not very eloquent praise but it's all my mind can muster right now. I have to warn you in advance: this is not going to be a very complete or coherent review since I'm still raw with emotion after finishing this incredible book (i.e. I'm feeling a lot of things and not thinking properly). The reason why I'm even trying to write a review in the first place is to highlight a passage that has made cry my eyes out. It hit too close to home, and I need to get it out of my system. So, before I completely lose my mind and enter an inevitable reading slump because it seems like no other book will make me feel this many feelings, let's talk about a comment one of the main characters, Harry, made at one point in the story: " ‘It’s just …’ Harry begins. ‘When I was a child, I’d go to this pond and lie on a rock and dream of my future, of having a staunch knight as my best friend, and a noble lady to love with all my heart. And now I find myself a man, a warrior I love with all my heart, and a noble lady as my best friend.’ He shakes his head. ‘This is. Not how I expected my life to go.’ " Ouch, Alex de Campi. You didn't have to come for my throat like that! When I read this passage, at first I let out a little laugh... and then the tears wouldn't stop. I saw myself in Harry. I, too, spent my childhood dreaming of a future that turned out to be wrong for me. Now I know there will be no "staunch knight" as my husband, but a "noble lady" as my wife instead, to borrow Harry's terms. However, much like our Sir Lyon, it took me a while to accept my truth and come to terms with it. This experience is not uncommon in the LGBTQ+ community, which is why I think this book is so powerful. It makes you feel seen. Alex de Campi tackles the inner battle between wanting to be what is expected of you and what you truly are in a a beautiful, and at times heartbreaking, manner. Trying to navigate your existence in a world that despises your very nature is still the reality for many of us, and books like this provide some sort of emotional catharsis. There is so much more I wanted to say, but my brain isn't working properly so I'll end this review with my rating. For all it made me feel, I give this book five stars. I wish I had found works like this sooner; they probably would've helped me in my journey of self-discovery. If you are considering reading "The Scottish Boy", trust me, you won't be disappointed (oh, and grab some tissue paper, you'll need it).

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ali Kennedy

    I'll start by saying that I don't tend to read Historical fiction before the 20th Century. This is set in the 1300s and initially I thought nope, not for me. However, it was available on The Pigeonhole platform and that makes me go outside my comfort zone so I signed up to read this, and I am so glad I did! This novel got under my skin and I couldn't stop pondering between staves (the installments offered daily via The Pigeonhole) becoming available. That's when I know a book is good. Let's get th I'll start by saying that I don't tend to read Historical fiction before the 20th Century. This is set in the 1300s and initially I thought nope, not for me. However, it was available on The Pigeonhole platform and that makes me go outside my comfort zone so I signed up to read this, and I am so glad I did! This novel got under my skin and I couldn't stop pondering between staves (the installments offered daily via The Pigeonhole) becoming available. That's when I know a book is good. Let's get the sexual content out of the way - yes it is very explicit, and I learned a lot more than I needed to about sex between two men. It even got a tiny bit tedious towards the end when I found myself thinking 'Oh here we go again' instead of the 'Oh. My!' from earlier similar scenes. That said, it did not affect my enjoyment of the book overall. I loved the detail, and the amount of research that the author had clearly undertaken to bring this novel to life. I could picture the characters' clothing, their homes, their tournaments, and everything else from that era - such was the quality of description. I fell in love with so many of the characters - Annie, Harry's cook/mother figure, who was so open minded and caring, Alys, the fiesty heroine with a difference, and Harry and Iain themselves - I was so invested in their lives. Towards the end I felt like the plot was heading towards doom and there was no way that things could work out. However, the author's writing was so good and the plot continued to twist and turn in unexpected ways. It was clear that there is more to Iain than meets the eye and I did see the revelation coming way before it was explicitly said. However, this novel does not hinge on being a plot with a twist. It has depth and detail that really dragged me into the 1300s. I may have learned a lot about sex between two men but I also learned so much about this era of History. Of course, it is fiction and the author will have taken liberties with real History, but it made me research and expand upon what was in the book. The characters' lives felt real, and the plot held my attention, and that is what was brilliant about this book. Thanks to The Pigeonhole for once again offering a title outside my usual comfort zone and to the author and publisher for making this available. A highly recommended read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Steven Hoffman

    ENGAGING, BUT PREDICTABLE AND GRAPHIC This is the second M/M romance novel I've read kinda by accident. I enjoy reading historical fiction and if there's a same sex twist all the better. So I try a titles that carries some interest in that regard. I get engaged in the story... and then the sex begins - pages and pages of it. I actually skim these parts (they're all the same), making sure I don't miss any plot points hidden in the porn (lol). Evidently regular consumers of this genre expect the ex ENGAGING, BUT PREDICTABLE AND GRAPHIC This is the second M/M romance novel I've read kinda by accident. I enjoy reading historical fiction and if there's a same sex twist all the better. So I try a titles that carries some interest in that regard. I get engaged in the story... and then the sex begins - pages and pages of it. I actually skim these parts (they're all the same), making sure I don't miss any plot points hidden in the porn (lol). Evidently regular consumers of this genre expect the explicit descriptions of two men having sex. I prefer that be left to my filthy imagination (ha)! I should be more discerning I admit. Probably not fair of me to be critical of a genre that's intentionally pornographic in its depictions of sex. I did like the story although the ending is telegraphed. The mystery is in how de Campi will deliver it. All the characters are well drawn, if not pretty two dimensional. Good and evil are clearly drawn and we grow very fond of our two protagonists and their supporters. The first half of the book is full of intrigue, treachery, and some adoring moments between the two heroes who, through some extreme initial conflict, eventually become lovers. As mentioned, as the plot progresses where de Campi is leading us becomes readily apparent. There is some action that is left unexplained and you wonder "how did that happen?" Still, if you're into the history of England's many conflicts with Scotland and France... and you love reading lots of graphic man sex, you'll probably enjoy this book a bit more than I did.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I would love to give this book 5 stars, as I geninely loved the characters, the story and the setting. That I could be transported back in time and feel like cheering for Iain and Harry at the tournaments was a feat in itself. My sole issue with this book was that it suddenly turned into erotica. I cannot stand erotica, (yes, yes, I know characters have sex, but damn does it bore me to read the intimate details). I soon began skim reading these parts to get back to the story. I read this through I would love to give this book 5 stars, as I geninely loved the characters, the story and the setting. That I could be transported back in time and feel like cheering for Iain and Harry at the tournaments was a feat in itself. My sole issue with this book was that it suddenly turned into erotica. I cannot stand erotica, (yes, yes, I know characters have sex, but damn does it bore me to read the intimate details). I soon began skim reading these parts to get back to the story. I read this through Pigeonhole and so noted many others who tired of the repetitive detailed sex. Not outraged as another reviewer has stated, just bored or disinterested as it felt like it detracted rather than added to the story. I loved that it was a homosexual relationship based in a time when it was still illegal (despite the previous king of England being rather well known for his illegal sexuality) and the dealing of the fear and struggles that came with that. When Wat the pig-boy got put on the pyre I was so scared for him. What a horrible thing to have to fear, being burnt alive for loving someone. It was interesting to read on pigeonhole comments how some people at first suspected Iain of being a secret female, because the idea of a homosexual story about knights and squires with a real basis in historical fact was such a novel and interesting idea that many didn’t even suspect it! Halve the amount of erotica and I’d have no problem giving 5 stars to this debut.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    A well researched, medieval queer romance complete with stunning illustrations and hand drawn maps? Everything about this book is incredible. I blew through this book faster than any non-YA book I've read in years and years. There is so much suspense that stopping often isn't an option if you can help it. Whether you are looking for the romance, was, or general intrigue, there are absolute heaps of each to keep you satisfied. You're immediately drawn into this world and given such enormous stake A well researched, medieval queer romance complete with stunning illustrations and hand drawn maps? Everything about this book is incredible. I blew through this book faster than any non-YA book I've read in years and years. There is so much suspense that stopping often isn't an option if you can help it. Whether you are looking for the romance, was, or general intrigue, there are absolute heaps of each to keep you satisfied. You're immediately drawn into this world and given such enormous stake in the characters that you're rooting for Harry from the get-go. The history and fiction are also seamlessly combined! I've spent the last 2 days engrossed reading about the historical figures present and knowing all of their stories adds a whole other dimension to the book. I backed the project on Unbound just because I trust Alex de Campi and absolutely was not disappointed. Only regret is that I didn't back at a higher tier for art rewards! Huge shout out to Trungles for perfectly capturing so many moments. No exaggeration I am going to be thinking about Iain and Harry forever. If my to-read pile weren't so large I honestly probably would have started to read this again already by now. My heart has never gone from hammering to falling out of my chest so quickly. Alex de Campi is a treasure. PS: After reading some other reviews I just wanted to chime in - yes the sex scenes are graphic but they never became gratuitous in the slightest.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Mackenzie-smaller

    Oh I loved this. Smart, modern historical fiction. Alex De Campi has taken the premise that a missing heir to the French throne was “rescued” from Scotland (in a violent, bloody battle) and taken to act as a squire to a rural Darlington knight. What follows is a tale of intrigue and passion, as the knight and his squire fall in love and as dark forces (and society) try to separate them. The book follows their journey through tournaments and into war with France, leaving us to wonder if a happy e Oh I loved this. Smart, modern historical fiction. Alex De Campi has taken the premise that a missing heir to the French throne was “rescued” from Scotland (in a violent, bloody battle) and taken to act as a squire to a rural Darlington knight. What follows is a tale of intrigue and passion, as the knight and his squire fall in love and as dark forces (and society) try to separate them. The book follows their journey through tournaments and into war with France, leaving us to wonder if a happy ending is possible. Full of realistic historical detail but also a true modern novel - violent in parts and incredibly graphic in its depiction of the sexual relationship between our hero, Harry and his lover. The sex scenes took me aback at first, but in fact provide a real basis for understanding the strength of the relationship between the two men, normalising a same sex relationship within a historical novel, where heterosexual love scenes might be seen as expected (all that ravishing of Anne Boleyn in the BBC series about Henry VIII springs to mind). You could skip those pages if you want - but read this book anyway, for the glory of its writing and the depth of feeling De Campi manages to evoke. There’s something about this book which has made me really think about history in a new light. Brilliant.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Matt & Brett

    It’s medieval England, and we’ve got plenty of knights, jousting, and war. We’ve also got a secret heir and an amazing (and scorching hot) MM romance. The Scottish Boy was a thoroughly enjoyable read, and the two main characters, Harry and Iain, were absolutely wonderful and showed amazing development. The book takes place over 7 years, and the passing of time was mostly pretty natural. There were some excellent side characters too. Two of my favorites were Annie and Alys. Annie is Harry’s housek It’s medieval England, and we’ve got plenty of knights, jousting, and war. We’ve also got a secret heir and an amazing (and scorching hot) MM romance. The Scottish Boy was a thoroughly enjoyable read, and the two main characters, Harry and Iain, were absolutely wonderful and showed amazing development. The book takes place over 7 years, and the passing of time was mostly pretty natural. There were some excellent side characters too. Two of my favorites were Annie and Alys. Annie is Harry’s housekeeper and quite excellent. Alys is the ward of an earl and becomes close with Harry. I wish some of the side characters got a little more on-page development, particularly Alys. There are a few major events that happen off-page since we only get Harry’s POV, and I felt that this sometimes led to some unsatisfying resolutions to certain plot events, as we are told rather than shown the resolutions. LGBT themes were handled very well, which is nice to see in a historical. Representation includes men who love men, and a character who would today likely identify as asexual & aromantic. This book includes detailed depictions of violence, death, and consensual sex between the main characters.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Thanks to Pigeonhole for allowing me to read this early and enjoy the book alongside other readers.  Set in the 14th century during the reign of Edward iii, this book very cleverly weaves a tale around the family tree of the Capet royal family of France. However, it centers around the fight between England and Scotland. Harry de Lyon, newly knighted, is rudely awakened by a violent raid on a Scottish castle where the inhabitants are massacred and a mysterious boy taken prisoner. Manipulated by hi Thanks to Pigeonhole for allowing me to read this early and enjoy the book alongside other readers.  Set in the 14th century during the reign of Edward iii, this book very cleverly weaves a tale around the family tree of the Capet royal family of France. However, it centers around the fight between England and Scotland. Harry de Lyon, newly knighted, is rudely awakened by a violent raid on a Scottish castle where the inhabitants are massacred and a mysterious boy taken prisoner. Manipulated by his superiors who use his lack of wealth as a leverage point, he is forced to take on the savage prisoner as his squire. Whilst it takes some time, Harry and the boy (Iain) eventually become friends and develop a growing romantic attachment to one another.  I loved the depiction of the growing relationship between the two, but this is the type of book to make grandma blush! Several pigeonhole readers found this a little too explicit in places. I thought it also required a little suspension of disbelief in places regarding the attitudes towards homosexuality at the times, but if you are into this kind of book as I am, the sex scenes are hot!  It's obvious that the author has put a great deal of research into the period and used real people and historical fact whenever possible. The plot is gripping, with lots of adventure alongside the romance, the book would stand up without the explicit scenes, but they added to the story for me.  I was sad to finish the book. I felt like I really got to know the characters in the story, not just the two protagonists, but also Harry's enemies, the servants at his home and his allies and friends. Will definitely be looking out for more from this author in future. 

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    Eyyy kids, it's one of the books I Unbounded! If you're looking for a historically accurate, world-buildy type novel, this is not for you; but if you want a beautiful love story between two people who love and lust for each other in the way that make legends? HEY Y'ALL. I grew up around love stories where love was everything and no one gave a FUCK and it was SO NICE to see that in a book. Harry is a total fucking idiot whose brain goes straight to his crotch whenever Iain is around, and you know Eyyy kids, it's one of the books I Unbounded! If you're looking for a historically accurate, world-buildy type novel, this is not for you; but if you want a beautiful love story between two people who love and lust for each other in the way that make legends? HEY Y'ALL. I grew up around love stories where love was everything and no one gave a FUCK and it was SO NICE to see that in a book. Harry is a total fucking idiot whose brain goes straight to his crotch whenever Iain is around, and you know what? He's 19 and in love. It's so nice to see when the genre is inundated with characters convinced that cynicism makes you interesting that there can still be a book like this. And because no one has mentioned it, the Unbound edition has lovely illustrations in a very nostalgic olde faerie tale style which add so much to the reading experience. If you're looking for something to take you out of this garbage fire of a year for a little while, this may be what does it for you especially if your younger years were full of courtly romances (though this does have a cubic fuckton of sex in it--if you don't go OH DAMN OKAY the first time they get to it, you may not like this as much as I did).

  29. 4 out of 5

    Di Paterson

    Brilliant. The writing, the story, the research. I enjoyed absolutely everything about this book, except the graphic sex scenes, which I thought were gratuitous. The relationship is central to the story, but the sex scenes were unnecessarily graphic, and after a while, I just skipped through them, because to have stopped reading was unimaginable! I can't say enough about the book. Alex de Campi has brought a lot of detailed research into a story about politics, treachery and medieval chivalry wh Brilliant. The writing, the story, the research. I enjoyed absolutely everything about this book, except the graphic sex scenes, which I thought were gratuitous. The relationship is central to the story, but the sex scenes were unnecessarily graphic, and after a while, I just skipped through them, because to have stopped reading was unimaginable! I can't say enough about the book. Alex de Campi has brought a lot of detailed research into a story about politics, treachery and medieval chivalry which has captured my imagination. It's an interesting period, circa 1330, and I learnt quite a bit throughout the novel, which is one of the reasons I enjoy historical fiction. The characterisation was excellent, and I enjoyed how Harry and Iain matured as the novel progressed, particularly Harry. My thanks to Alex and the Pigeonhole for the opportunity to read the book, which I know I would have read much more quickly if I'd not had it serialised.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Abbie

    Lets take you back to a time where there is Kings and queens. A time where knights fought in tournaments to gain social standing and acknowledgement. A time where Scottish people were thought of as barbarians. Where two men meet because of an unexpect event. The Scottish Boy follows Harry and Iain as they risk their lives for each other. You watch as their realtionship evolves in to something beautiful, wholesome and everlasting. I would love to recommend The Scottish Boy to anybody! However, i c Lets take you back to a time where there is Kings and queens. A time where knights fought in tournaments to gain social standing and acknowledgement. A time where Scottish people were thought of as barbarians. Where two men meet because of an unexpect event. The Scottish Boy follows Harry and Iain as they risk their lives for each other. You watch as their realtionship evolves in to something beautiful, wholesome and everlasting. I would love to recommend The Scottish Boy to anybody! However, i can't because of the explict content. The Scottish book is filled with characters that you fall in love with as well as characters you absolutely despise. The Author, Alex De Campi writtes each character so well. Alex De Campi's debut novel was a phenomenal read and I enjoyed every minute of it! Thank you The Pigeonhole and Alex De Campi for allowing me to read the preview of such an amazing book!

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